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Cisco Compact Amplifiers

Field Notice: FN - 63596 - AGC function - Compact EGC Single / Dual Output Amplifiers A93280/A9370

Field Notice: FN - 63596 - AGC function - Compact EGC Single / Dual Output Amplifiers A93280/A9370

December 19, 2012


NOTICE:

THIS FIELD NOTICE IS PROVIDED ON AN "AS IS" BASIS AND DOES NOT IMPLY ANY KIND OF GUARANTEE OR WARRANTY, INCLUDING THE WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY. YOUR USE OF THE INFORMATION ON THE FIELD NOTICE OR MATERIALS LINKED FROM THE FIELD NOTICE IS AT YOUR OWN RISK. CISCO RESERVES THE RIGHT TO CHANGE OR UPDATE THIS FIELD NOTICE AT ANY TIME.

Revision History

Revision Date Comment
1.0
19-DEC-2012
Initial Public Release

Products Affected

Products Affected Comments
RF38 - 4036170
AGC Module for Compact EGC Amp (A93270/A93280)
RF38 - A93270.10240
Compact EGC Dual Output Amp,1GHz,40dB,230VAC
RF38 - A93270.10340
Compact EGC Dual Output Amp,1GHz,40dB,65VAC
RF38 - A93280.10240
Compact EGC Amplifier,1GHz,40dB,230VAC,65/86MHz
RF38 - A93280.10340
Compact EGC Amplifier,1GHz,40dB,65VAC,65/86MHz

Problem Description

The Compact EGC (Electronic Gain Control) Single and Dual amplifiers can be extended with an optional AGC (Automatic Gain Control) module which allows the amplifier to keep a constant slope and output level as input changes. In some cases the AGC function of the amplifier realigns slope and output level with a step size that cannot be handled by certain QAM-tuners used in set-top boxes and TV-sets. When this occurs, the tuner loses synchronization and for a short period of time the viewer may experience a picture freeze or a loss of picture on digital channels (QAM-channels).

On analogue channels the realignment by the AGC function will pass unnoticed. If the AGC function has been disabled (AGC = Standby), the amplifier will work properly. Amplifiers without optional AGC module installed will work properly.

Only those amplifiers with the optional AGC module installed will encounter the issue described in this field notice. The reference of the AGC module is given hereunder.

Pid Description
A93270.10240 Compact EGC Dual Output Amp,1GHz,40dB,230VAC
A93280.10240 Compact EGC Single Output Amp,1GHz,40dB,230VAC
A93270.10340 Compact EGC Dual Output Amp,1GHz,40dB,65VAC
A93280.10340 Compact EGC Single Output Amp,1GHz,40dB,65VAC
4036170 AGC Module for Compact EGC Amp (A93270/A93280)

Background

The step size of the slope and output level is controlled by the microprocessor of the amplifier and can vary depending on the required realignment.
In the new firmware of the amplifier, the step size for the AGC function has been fixed to 0.1 dB /step, making the slope and output level changes smoother and slower compared to the initial implementation with variable step sizes.

Problem Symptoms

The symptoms are not always present since it depends on the required realignment and type of set-top box or TV-set.
The most noticeable symptoms are on digital channels (QAM-channels):

  • Picture freeze for a short period of time
  • Loss of picture for a short period of time

The AGC function will realign, if necessary, with intervals of 4 minutes.

Most QAM-analyzers are very sensitive to level changes and will see the realignment of the AGC function as an error or poor signal quality. Therefore using the QAM-analyzers for evaluating the AGC function is not recommended. A better way is to see if the set-top box or TV-set gives issues during the realignment.

Workaround/Solution

The firmware of the amplifier can be upgraded in the field by means of a Firmware download kit (4043135).
The firmware versions incorporating the change on the AGC function can be found in the table below.

The firmware can be downloaded from the Cisco.com or by request at the TAC.

As always, customers have the option to RMA units that require repair.

With respect to issues requiring escalation, the TAC will follow normal processes for escalations to the Cable Access Business Unit.

PID Description Firmware Version
A93270.10240 Compact EGC Dual Output Amp,1GHz,40dB,230VAC DEA_1.03.18
A93280.10240 Compact EGC Single Output Amp,1GHz,40dB,230VAC DEA_1.03.18
A93270.10340 Compact EGC Dual Output Amp,1GHz,40dB,65VAC SEA_1.00.11
A93280.10340 Compact EGC Single Output Amp,1GHz,40dB,65VAC SEA_1.00.11
 

How To Identify Hardware Levels

The firmware version of the amplifier can be retrieved via its LCI interface by means of the Handheld controller or LCI software. More details can be found in the I/O-guide on Cisco.com at this location
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps9051/prod_installation_guides_list.html

A label on the unit packaging as well as the unit itself will refer to the installed firmware version. See pictures below for examples.

For More Information

If you require further assistance, or if you have any further questions regarding this field notice, please contact the Cisco Systems Technical Assistance Center (TAC) by one of the following methods:

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